The X-Files
Australian Conne-X-ion
Episode Guide:
"The Pine Bluff Variant"

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Episode 5X18

First screened in Australia: 24 June, 1998
First screened in the USA: 3 May, 1998

Title: The Pine Bluff Variant

Credits: Director: Rob Bowman
Writer: John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz (not credited)
Starring: Guest Stars:
While investigating a dangerous group of anti-government terrorists experimenting with biological warfare, Scully grow suspicious of Mulder, whose increasingly strange behavior suggests he may be serving another agenda.
My Rating: 7/10

This episode struck me as a bit confusing the first time I saw it ... I still can't figure out the cinema scene, although the name of the movie that was screening, "Die Hard With A Vengeance", was topical! If it was the money that was affected with the bio-toxin and the toxin was so deadly, why didn't the usherette just die straight away? How was there time for the dozen patrons to buy their tickets and walk into the cinema and die?

Postscript: OK, maybe I figured it out. I thought Scully was talking about money from the cinema ... maybe she was talking about money from the upcoming Bremer bank heist (which no-one told her on-screen) If it wasn't the money at the cinema perhaps Bremer just walked in and sprayed everybody?

That aside, the episode was extremely interesting and full of subterfuge, double-dealings and intrigue. The director really squeezed a lot of tension from the plot and gets full marks for that. Mulder really went through hell while Scully did well trying to piece everything together. The opening scene was interesting where it seemed Mulder may be a traitor while the ending was poetic justice as Haley drives off the road and the camera puills down to a hsot of the deadly keys sitting in the ignition.

The episode adds more fuel to Mulder's fire as the government carries out further experiments on the unsuspecting and innocent public.

Notable Quotable:
Mulder: (on phone) What else can I say? I-I got as much to lose here as you do. They catch you, youíll flip me. Look, I believe in your ideals and your goals but the only reason I tolerate your methods is because the governmentís are worse.
Haley: (on phone) Wow. What a ringing endorsement.
Mulder: (on phone) Hey, you came to me, remember? I mean, what more do you want from me? Iíve risked everything. Iíve given you information. My partner is seriously suspicious. If thatís not enough for you, thatís all Iíve got.

Motel Manager: Are you the wife?
Scully: Not even close.

Scully: Exactly what agency are you from? Obviously not the Office of Information.

Mulder: (wearing a hood) Ooh. Is this the Pepsi challenge?

Mulder: Well, you might want to put that hood back on me unless you want to see a grown man cry.

Bremer: Youíre a believer?
Mulder: I have my beliefs.
Bremer: You willing to die for them?
Mulder: Iíd prefer it didnít come to that.

Bremer: (to Haley) Take it and get out of here. I donít want to see your face again. Go.
(Haley gets up, gets in car and leaves.)
Bremer: (to Mulder) On your feet.
Mulder: I donít need a car. You can just call me a cab, thatíd be fine.
Where Have I Seen That Face Before?
Michael MacRae (August Bremer) previously appeared as The Ranger in "The Jersey Devil" . He's appeared in mainly TV movies but did appear in the sci-fi movie "Coma" which starred Michael Douglas and was written by Michael Crichton before he became famous. Other well-known movie roles include "Better Off Dead", "Deadly Pursuit" and the 2000 John Travolta turkey, "Battlefield Earth".

Daniel Von Bargen (Haley) has a recurring role on the brilliant "Malcolm In The Middle" and also starred on the soap "The Guiding Light". He's been in some big-name movies like "Silence Of The Lambs", "Basic Instinct", "Rising Sun", "Six Degrees Of Separation", "IQ", "Philadelphia", "Broken Arrow", "Thinner", "GI Jane", "Amistad", "A Civil Action", "The General's Daughter", "Shaft" and "The Kid". On TV He appeared in 4 "Seinfeld" episodes - "The Slicer", "The Strike", "The Burning" and "The Maid" - plus "Law And Order".

For details on JB Bivens (Field Agent) see the "Pilot" episode.

The Pain Factor
Mulder goes through an excruciating torture scene where he has his fingers broken and later is led away to be executed. He's probably still suffering nightmares, hearing the gun fire and thinking he'd been shot.

Kate Braidwood, who plays the cinema usherette, is the daughter of Tom Braidwood, who is the X-Files assistant director and one of The Lone Gunmen, Frohike.

When the episode first aired in the USA, it was described as being *very* important to the plot line of the X-Files Movie but I can see no connection.

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